As the world continues to be shaken up by horror stories on Wall Street, it might be worth taking a few steps back to consider your immediate quality of life.
SustainLane, a San Francisco based green media company has just announced its brand new U.S. city rankings today. Starting in 2005, SustainLane went through an exorbitant examination of sustainability initiatives in U.S. cities looking at a variety of factors: average traffic commutes, affordable housing, waste diversion, green space, energy usage, green buildings, natural disaster risk, air quality, water quality, public transportation, local food sources, and government innovations. James Elsen, the founder of SustainLane explains it in his article What’s A Sustainable City, Anyway ?
Portland is the Most Sustainable City in America
In SustainLane’s first city ranking, released in spring 2005, Portland came out on top, with San Francisco and Seattle not far behind. In the words of James Elsen, West Coast cities and “blue” cities (New York, Chicago, Boston) turned out to be way ahead in the green game than “red” ones. The latest city rankings report benchmarks each city’s performance in 16 areas of urban sustainability, including an essential new measurement this year: Water Supply.
In the latest 2008 sustainable city rankings, Portland still holds its position as the most sustainable city in America. According to Ken Ott a researcher at SustainLane, Portland has a lot of things going for it : bicycling, regional planning, infill development, expansion of local rail systems and community volunteered agriculture. It is still highly car dependent but then which American city is not? When it comes to public transit use it’s frankly hard to beat New York.
If city living defines your existence, you might want to check out the rankings to see how close or far you are to a sustainable quality of life.
As Long As You’re Walking and Working
Green Gym Uses Human Powered Energy
Matt Dillon and Yahoo Kickoff Green City Challenge
Photo Credit: SustainLane.com
This post was previously published on Ecolocalizer.com. Reenita Malhotra is an Associate Producer for Gorilla in the Greenhouse, a kids’ animation developed and presented by SustainLane.
Portland also has a climate which is agreeable with home food production and has mostly mild weather. Both of those factors would seem to boost its sustainability as well.
The rankings this year seem to have gotten a bit grittier – or at least the implicatations that Elsen is drawing from them. I was caught by this quote from the ENS coverage:
“We predict that the lower-ranking cities will increasingly struggle to sustain their resident and business populations and local economies.”
The coverage, particularly for the lower ranking cities, seems to echo this understanding that poor environmental performance is increasingly becoming a liability. I’ve posted more here: http://openalex.blogspot.com/2008/09/rankings-with-teeth-livable-or.html